To challenge myself (I mean, to give myself a healthy dose of blood, sweat, and tears) I decided to create a book dummy. A book dummy is a mock-up version of a book–in this case, a children’s book. It’s something illustrators often do to demonstrate how they would lay out their illustrations in a full-length book. When I went to the SCBWI summer conference last August, I saw plenty of book dummies on display. I also attended a workshop on the subject. I thought it might be a great way to illustrate consistent characters in a sequence. So here I am, several months later, now realizing just what I got myself into. But, I love it. I love project-based work. I love to see a whole world take shape from a single thought.
I chose to create a book dummy using Wanda Gág’s original text, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I chose it because it seemed like a well-known story, yet not cliché. This particular text does not follow the storyline of Disney’s version (brooms with arms, etc.) so I thought it would allow me some space to create a new and different body of work.
I thought it best to start by illustrating to completion three main points in the story: one at the beginning, middle, and end. I’m still in this phase of the project. Once I’m finished with these illustrations, I hope to make pencil drawings for the rest of the text.
So now, what you’ve all been waiting for…
My Process for the First Spread of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (in pictures)
Lots and lots of sketches to work out the nuances, expressions, and shapes of the characters.
A character turn around helps me to practice consistency and explore color.
Spread 1 Thumbnails
Artists love thumbnails! Or at least I do. I sketch on a small scale how I intend to lay out the page. I explore angle, perspective, decorative elements.
Spread 1 Drawing
The final drawing (after drawing and drawing). I keep a version of the final line drawing so that I can easily reproduce it for extra studies.
Spread 1 Value Study
Value studies help to locate where the color value will lead the viewer. The area with the most contrast tends to be the focal spot for the eye.
Spread 1 Color Study
Didn’t quite get to the end of this color study, but I could see that I wanted more vibrant colors and less gray hues in the characters’ clothing.
Spread 1 Inked and Painted
The final illustration! Inked, watercolored, and with a little bit o’ conté crayon. And sheep!